This month my daughter and I had the opportunity to cook some delicious and healthy recipes with Lidia Bastianich and Grana Padano in La Scoula Grande right inside Eataly in New York City. I’ve been a fan of Lidia’s Italy since I was a teenager. My mother-in-law is also a huge fan. My mother-in-law always says, “All Lidia has to do on that show is throw some onion and garlic into a pan and I start to drool!” I enjoy Lidia’s recipes because her approach is fresh, rustic, and simple.
We were so excited! Even though I’ve walked past Eataly a thousand times, I never had the chance to go inside and explore. I made sure we arrived extra early so that we may go inside and discover what was in every corner. Eataly is a huge place! It consists of many restaurants, cafes, a marketplace full of house-made goods, and a school. Did I mention it’s huge? When you have some time or are just in the mood for some fresh Italian, make sure you stop by.
We walked into the classroom and were immediately introduced to Lidia and her team. The tables were set, the aprons ready to be worn and before we knew it we were cooking, discussing our family traditions, and listening to Lidia discuss how simple it can be to eat fresh and healthy!
Our class was very interactive. We took turns smelling the wonderful herbs, rolling out the dough, and having a taste of everything that went into our dishes. We also discussed the various regions our dishes came from, how to eat with the seasons and how to encourage our kids to try new things. Lidia mentioned that it’s so important to introduce the aromas of different herbs and vegetables from a very early age. She even encouraged my picky eater to try chives, squash and Grana Padano cheese (which I love, by the way). I was afraid she wouldn’t like them but she tried every single thing and loved it. I’m so glad. I don’t want her to grow up close minded about food. There are so many delicious cuisines out there.
It’s very important to keep kids involved in the cooking process, said Lauren Antonucci. Lauren, a mother of three and nutritionist, shared some of her great tips for picky eaters like mine at the event as well.
3 Dietary Rules
- There’s always a fruit at breakfast.
- There’s always a vegetable at lunch.
- There’s always a dairy at snack-time in the afternoon or afterschool.
Here’s a recipe your little ones will not only love to make but also love to eat!
Housemade Squash Ravioli with Butter, Fresh Sage & Grated Grana Padano
Recipe Courtesy of Lidia Bastianich
Yield: 4-6 servings
For the Ravioli Dough:
Please refer to Lidia’s Basic Egg Pasta Dough recipe
For the Filling:
- 1 1/4 pounds of pumpkin or butternut squash
- 4 ounces amaretti cookies
- 1 1/4 cups grated Grana Padano
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
For the Butter & Fresh Sage Sauce:
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, to taste
- 12 fresh whole sage leaves
- 1 cup hot water from the past cooking pot
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 cup Grana Padano, grated
To prepare the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squash into large slices, remove the seeds and pulp, and bake until soft, about 30 minutes. (* Time saving tip: You can have the Eataly Vegetable Butcher cut up your squash and remove the seeds for you or demonstrate the proper technique to use at home!*)
- Remove the squash from the oven and, once cooled, scrape the flesh off the rind and wrap the flesh in a kitchen towel. Place in a colander to drain for 10 minutes.
- Crumble the amaretti and combine with the Grana Padano and lemon zest. Add the drained squash and a pink of salt and work together to obtain a homogeneous filling; set aside.
To prepare the ravioli:
- Bring a large pot with 6 quarts of salted water to a boil (just below the salinity of sea water).
- Roll out the dough to form a thin rectangular sheet and on this arrange small amounts of the filling (about the size of an egg yolk).
- Fold the sheet over and cut squares or rectangles. Make certain to seal the edges of the pasta, using a little bit of water to help the dough stick together.
- Boil the ravioli in the salted water for 2-4 minutes until the pasta texture is al dente.
To prepare the Butter & Fresh Sage Sauce:
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in the pan over medium heat, lay in the sage leaves, and heat until the butter is sizzling gently. Toast the leaves for one minute or so.
- Ladle in 1 cup of boiling pasta water; stir the sauce and simmer for about 2 minutes. Grind the black pepper directly into the sauce.
- Keep the sauce hot over very low heat;return to a simmer just before adding the pasta.
- Drain the pasta and add to the sauce in the skillet. Toss gently until all ravioli are coated with the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the cheese just before serving.
Add This To Your Wish List
We received a copy of Lidia’s latest children’s book titled “Nonna’s Birthday Surprise”. (Nonna means grandma in Italian.) This book is a treasure! Not only is the book a heartfelt story from Lidia’s personal experience but also filled with recipes you’ll want to make with your kids or grand-kids. One very cool feature about the recipes in the book is that there is a section that specifies what the kids can do as part of every recipe. Be sure to pick up a copy today. It makes a perfect gift for the holidays too. RV $16.95 available for purchase here.
About “Nonna’s Birthday Surprise”
It’s Nonna Mima’s birthday, and Nonna Lidia and her grandkids are determined to throw her a surprise feast! While planning the evening’s menu, Nonna Lidia shares her memories of growing up on the farm during each season of the year, gardening her own fruits and vegetables, and being surrounded by animals of all kinds. After a trip to the farmers’ market, Lidia and the kids prepare a pasta primavera, perfect for a family celebration!
The warm, heartfelt illustrations capture Lidia’s love for her family and the food that they share. Included are eighteen recipes that emphasize the ingredients abundant during each season and the use of leftover ingredients, while “Kids Can” suggestions note ways that kids can participate in the making of the meals.
Visit Eataly this fall and take advantage of the all the wonderful classes Lidia Bastianich has to offer. Find a full class schedule here.
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was provided for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.